Course Description

Course Name

Portrait Photography

Session: VPGS1324

Hours & Credits

6 ECTS Credits

Prerequisites & Language Level

Taught In English

  • There is no language prerequisite for courses at this language level.


1.    Course Description
The Portrait Photography course is designed to introduce students to different genres of portrait photography, the basics of using light and composition in portrait photography, and to help them work through a wide range of thematic approaches to portrait photography. For these reasons, students will be introduced to the work of the world's top portrait photographers and the environments in which they worked. Based on this introductory introduction to portrait photography and practical exercises, they will be given the space to develop their own creativity, resulting in a small series of portraits to be exhibited in a photographic gallery. Till the end of the semester every student will produce a portrait portfolio with min. 10 images.

Those who complete the course will have significantly improved their understanding of portrait photography, and as a form of fine art. By the end of the course students will have improved their practical skills to the point of being able to pursue more advanced work in portrait photography covering a wider range of subjects. The course is designed for students who have already basic knowledge in photography and also for beginners which want to learn the skills of operating a camera.


2.    Student Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:
●    gain a full understanding of what portrait photography represents
●    learn how to make a good portrait photography
●    learn how to interact with a model in the studio/outdoors
●    learn about the psychological aspects of portrait photography.
●    learn how to create a series of portraits to get a story
●    gain a historical perspective on the development of portrait photography 
●    explore the different between portrait photography as reality and fine art portrait photography.
●    learn and practice how to present their own portrait photography project        


3.    Reading Material

Required Materials
 “An American Exodus”/ Dorothea Lange
“People of the 20 Century” / August Sander
“Portraits” / Karsh
“One Hundred” / Arnold Newman
“Portraits” / Irving Penn

Recommended Materials 
“An Aperture Monograph” / Diane Arbus
“In the American West” / Richard Avedon
“Portraits” / Man Ray“
The complete Untitled Filmstills” / Cindy Sherman
 “Heroes” / Ivan Pinkava

Much of this course involves “visual” learning experience. Several videos of related topics
will be either posted on the web site (links) or on reserve at Library. When noted as such,
these videos are considered required “watching” for the course.

Gallery Visits:
Throughout the semester we will be visiting one current exhibition in Prague. Students will
write a short “report” and critique of the exhibit.


4.    Teaching methodology

Course Schedule Lectures, Readings, Discussions, Presentations, Exercises and Workshop style instruction followed by fieldwork. The course is highly interactive with weekly assignments and ongoing project work. Assignments and classroom critiques will supplement the technical and theoretical instruction of the course. Through this course, the students will get the opportunity to develop their photographic techniques and critical thinking while getting continuous feedback from their instructor and classmates.

Each student is expected to attend all class sessions and participate in discussions and any
group activities. Some material will only be available in class so it will be difficult to make up the material you miss when absent. Additional support is offered to students through
prearranged meetings with the instructor. More than 2 absences during the course will
negatively influence your final grade. 

Late assignments are NOT accepted and will be just graded with a reasonable explanation such as illness or anything similar.

*Course content subject to change